I want to talk about money and this whole concept of money "God's way." I was listening to some Christian talk radio the other day and heard some things that bothered me. I won't mention the name of the man I was listening to because I don't want to slander anyone or be divisive.
This man said a couple of times that he is teaching people how to handle their finances "God's way" and he said it is what most people call "commonsense." Therein lies the first thing that bothered me. In my reading of the Bible and in my own life I do not see God as a God of commonsense. Do you?
Three years ago Chris and I felt that God was asking us to adopt a child from Ethiopia, to give a family to someone who did not have one. I was an actor and he was a pastor and we were renting a 550 square foot duplex in Pasadena and we had a lot of student loan debt and no savings. An adoption from Ethiopia costs about $30,000 folks. Does that sound like commonsense? You know what my commonsense and the commonsense of many people close to me said? YOU CAN'T DO THAT! You don't have $30,000 and you're not going to have $30,000.
Well, God blasted commonsense to smithereens.
So I don't think "God's way" of finances has to do with commonsense at all.
The other thing that bothered me was this man talking about savings as part of "God's way" with money. Now let me make it clear that I'm not against savings. I think it's smart by this world's standards. I'm not saying you're doing something wrong by having a savings account or a retirement set up. I do have a problem with stamping the Lord's name on that and saying it's His way of doing money. In my reading of the Bible, I see more of God saying savings is foolishness than I see of God saying savings is ordained. In Luke 12, there's the story of the man who builds up storehouses of food, etc. for himself (a retirement account, right?), and Jesus calls him a fool because he's going to die that night and then who will get all of it. And when Jesus sends out the twelve in Matthew 12, He tells them not to take even an extra shirt, but to let others support them and share with them. So no savings, no plan for providing for the future, not even a second set of clothes.
Like I said, I'm not trying to be divisive. I am trying to ruffle some feathers, I'll be honest. Because we are supposed to live differently, right? We are supposed to look foolish to the world. We're supposed to be willing to do what God asks of us regardless of what that means for our bank account. We're supposed to have a more profound idea of "retiring" that involves turning the world upside down, not settling in for a nice long rest. And it just bothers me when the church becomes a 5 step program to live comfortably and have a cushy retirement.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.